I’ve tried on many occasion to enter the F3 weekly challenge. Time, TFFO, and family are my usual hurdles BUT this weeks was a must.
Fiona’s charity is CHILDREN 1ST, the Scottish society for the prevention of cruelty to children.
Thomas’s charity is PROTECT, the National Association to Protect Children.
I couldn’t take my story down the child abuse road so it went in a different direction that I hope still has an impact. It’s simply called…
Present Day – Manchester, England.
“Lunch time,” the nurse sang, her trolley rattling into the room.
There was no answer from the occupant. Elizabeth Reed sat silently and motionless, her teary eyes staring at a photograph.
The nurse turned to Elizabeth, the melody disappearing from her voice.
“Elizabeth, what’s the matter?”
“Oh, my darling, stop upsetting yourself. Come and eat some lunch. There’s a…”
Elizabeth didn’t hear. Her mind was elsewhere.
* * *
1975 – Manchester, England.
“Come on, Olivia, we’re going to miss the bus,” Elizabeth shouted, pulling on her coat.
Elizabeth turned at the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs.
“Oh, you look,” Elizabeth said, holding back a loving laugh, “You look gorgeous. You’re father would be so proud of you.”
“Thank you, mummy. Are we going now?”
“Yes, honey. We just need to stop at the bank and then we’ll get on our way.”
On the way to the bank, four year old Olivia asked her mummy the same thing. “Mummy, tell me about daddy.”
Elizabeth told her what a great man he was: how great a daddy he was. How he had wanted to stay with them forever, but God had needed him for a special job. She told Olivia how much her daddy loved her, and how he was watching over them both.
By the time they had reached the bank, the little girl had the biggest smile on her face, but Elizabeth had the biggest void in her heart.
“Ok, Olivia, push the door.”
They entered the bank, “Oh, it’s a bit busy, honey. We’ll have to queue though. We can’t get your new school shoes without any money can we?”
“New shoes, new shoes, I’m getting new shoes,” Olivia sang as they stood in the queue.
The line of customers was slow moving and there was a mumbling of annoyance amongst them. Elizabeth felt a pull on her coat.
“Mummy, I’m too warm. Can I wait outside?”
“Not on your own, honey. We won’t be much longer.”
“Oh pleeease, mummy.”
It was getting too warm and her daughter’s cheeks were getting red. “Stay right outside the door, right where I can see you, OK?”
“OK, mummy. I’ll stay right near the door.”
Elizabeth watched as the young girl pulled the glass door open and walked outside.
The queue moved a couple of paces, customers shuffled forward. Elizabeth moved with them, taking her eyes off the door for a few seconds. When she looked back, the child had gone. Her pulse quickened and her heart sank. She started walking to the door. A smiling Olivia appeared and waved to her mum.
The voice from behind the counter startled Elizabeth. She motioned to her daughter through the door and then turned to the cashier, passing her chequebook under the partition. The cashier tore out the cheque, stamped it and counted out the notes. Handing the money to Elizabeth, he told her to have a nice day.
“Thank you,” Elizabeth said, putting the money into her purse.
She turned form the counter and walked towards the door, her pulse racing again. Olivia wasn’t there. Elizabeth rushed to the door, pulling it open. She ran outside, looking up and down the street. Her heart was in her throat. There was no sign of her daughter.
“Olivia! Olivia!” she shouted, frantically walking up and down the street.
She stopped people, begging them to help her find her little girl: begging then to find the only family that she had. She shouted and screamed. She became hysterical. The police and ambulance were called when Elizabeth fainted.
* * *
Present Day – Sydney, Australia.
“Stacey, come on honey. Nana will be here in a few minutes.”
“Oh, five more minutes, mum. Pleeease.”
The child jumped over the small waves, giggling and screaming with delight.
The girl spun round. “Nana Joan!”
The young girl ran to the old woman, hugging her tightly.
“Mum! You’re early. We were going to meet you at the café. You didn’t have to walk down here. Your legs…”
“Hush now, love. I wanted to watch Stacey playing. And please, stop fussing over me, Olivia.”
All comments appreciated.
The image above is by a very talented lady called, Danielle Tunstall. Give her a look on FaceBook.